Fourth-quarter collapse dooms Tiger boys in loss to Omro

Murphy’s Law of “Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong,” pretty well summed up the fourth quarter for the Ripon High School boys’ basketball team last week Thursday.

Leading Omro on the road, the Tigers struggled in all facets of the game in the final quarter and blew a seven-point lead. They allowed a go-ahead basket with 10 seconds left and lost 43-40.

The loss dropped them to 6-2 overall and left a sour taste in their mouths as they entered a more-than-two-week break between games.

“We could not finish the game [last week] Thursday night,” Ripon head coach Dean Vander Plas said. “... Our shot selection was a little bit off; we took a lot of contested shots. We shot pretty well from the free-throw line, but we did not shoot well from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter. Our defense had been keeping us in the game the whole night and then all of a sudden we let them run a big quarter on us, too.”

Epitomizing the tough fourth quarter, in which the Tigers seemed like they could not do anything right, was the final minute.

After Omro (4-3 overall) tied the game at 40 late, Ripon had an opportunity to win it. A turnover, however, changed all of that.

“They were not pressuring us,” Vander Plas said. “They were going to let us run off the clock. So we decided that we were going to run clock and go for the last shot and just give us two chances to win: one at the end of regulation and then if we did not score, go to overtime. That plan did not work for us.

“We turned the ball over with about 30 seconds left to go and it was an unforced turnover by the team. It wasn’t that Omro pressured us and got it ... They got the ball off the turnover, called timeout and mentally we were down. You could see the faces were long. We were disappointed and we did not move well to the next phase of getting a stop; we struggled with that. I tried to get them through that part by just saying, ‘Hey, we get a stop and we get to overtime.’”

Despite the coach’s best efforts, the Tigers were unable to put the turnover behind them and force an extra session.

Read the full story, which includes information on a tough stretch ahead for the Tigers, in the Dec. 26, 2013 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.

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